A WELSHPOOL man will have to pay nearly £4,000 in compensation after he drunkenly stole a farmer’s tractor and took it on a joyride.

Welshpool Magistrates’ Court was told this week that Jack Evans had been “drinking heavily” on May 16 last year before stealing the John Deere tractor from the farm between Welshpool and Newtown.

The 27-year-old was more than three times the legal drink drive limit during the incident, which occurred at about 9pm.

Evans damaged the tractor itself and an outbuilding after hitting it, as well as several gates at the farm, owned by Gary Orrells.

Evans, of Borfa Green, Welshpool, admitted three offences on Tuesday, January 31, including aggravated vehicle taking, drink driving and driving without a licence. The level of alcohol in his system was 106 micrograms – the legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said Mr Orrells was alerted to the incident at about 9pm.


“Gary Orrells had returned to his home and a friend called and enquired regarding a tractor that had crashed into an outbuilding, which was parked near the entrance to the farm,” said Mrs Tench.

“There is a gate that leads to an area where equipment is stored like fence posts. The tractor was parked there, with the keys well hidden inside. The tractor had a trailer attached and there was frontal impact to it and an outbuilding, while three gates had been damaged.

“It looked like it had been reversed and driven into the road. Mr Orrells’ friend was seen talking to a man who turned out to be the defendant, who then approached him and apologised; he said he was the one who had been driving."

In interview, Ms Tench said, he told police: "I don’t know what I was thinking. I knew I did something bad so ran off, but realised that’s no good so came back to apologise’”.

Mrs Tench said Mr Orrells had already received an insurance payout covering the cost of the tractor, which amounted to £51,000, but pid £250 excess for it, as well as £523 for a hire replacement tractor and £2,000 for a stock trailer. She said Mr Orrells in total had been forced to pay out £3,836.56 due to the incident.

Acting for Evans, Rob Hanratty described the incident as a “short but fateful journey”.

“It is fair to say he is at a loss to explain why he behaved the way he did,” said Mr Hanratty.

“He had a fair bit to drink at earlier in the evening. On his way home he saw the tractor with the keys in. It was a short but fateful journey. The amount of damage caused is mind-boggling.

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“It is quite rare to see someone so remorseful for an offence; he couldn’t stop saying sorry for what he’d done at the scene.”

Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report and heard from probation officer Julian Davies, who said: “He had been off work that day, drinking heavily at various pubs with friends.

"He has a good understanding of how his behaviour has affected others.”

Mr Davies said Evans was employed locally at a factory where he builds emergency exit doors. He said alcohol misuse is linked to his previous offending behaviour – which included receiving a five-year custodial sentence in 2015 for grievous bodily harm.

Magistrates ordered Evans to pay £3,836.56 compensation to Mr Orrells, which in addition to £85 court costs means he must pay a total of £3,921.56.

He was also ordered to complete an 18-month community order, with 25 rehabilitation days and 200 hours of unpaid work.

He will also be disqualified from driving for three years – aggravated vehicle taking attracts a mandatory, separate 12-month ban, but this will run concurrently. Magistrates declined to offer Evans the chance to reduce his ban with a drink drive awareness course.